According to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), more than 700,000 immigrants are naturalized and become U.S. citizens each year. Though this is a large number of people, it pales in comparison to the number of immigrants who wish to gain their citizenship. The immigration process can be difficult to navigate alone. This can be especially true if you are the fiance or spouse of an immigrant that is not a citizen of the United States. Petitioning to have your loved one become a citizen and eventually receive their green card is a process that often requires the expertise of an experienced Immigration lawyer. If you are in search of an experienced family and immigration lawyer in Scottsdale, AZ, give the attorneys at the Law Offices of Lemuel A. Carlos, PLLC to schedule your initial consultation today.
If you have fallen in love with a person that is a national of another country, you may be interested in getting married. Fortunately, the U.S. Government offers a pathway to permanent residency and eventually citizenship for the spouse of an American citizen. A marriage green card will allow the spouse of a citizen to work and live anywhere in the U.S. Once the green card is received, they will have the status of a permanent resident. Additionally, they will be eligible to apply for citizenship after three years. Getting a marriage green card will typically take three steps:
- Establish that the marriage is valid via form I-130 and required supporting documents. This includes the filing fee.
- Complete the application for a green card using forms DS-260 or I-485.
- Complete the green card interview and await a final decision.
In addition to opposite-gender married based immigration, recently passed laws in the United States give members of the LGBT community seeking same-sex marriage immigration a pathway to a green card and eventually citizenship if desired.
If you are a citizen of the U.S., you are eligible to apply for a K-1 (fiance) visa for your partner via Form I-129F — otherwise known as Petition for Alien Fiance. This type of visa is for partners that intend to get married within 90 days of the visa being issued. If the marriage occurs during this 90 day period, the non-immigrant spouse can then apply for their green card and eventually citizenship. You must be able to prove that the marriage is legitimate and the two parties intend to establish a lifelong relationship and not one solely for immigration purposes. Each couple must also prove that they have at least met one time in person. Furthermore, this visa is not applicable for couples intending to get married outside of the U.S. or if the fiance currently lives inside of the United States. Same-sex partnerships are eligible for the K-1 visas.
Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Petitions
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) protects victims of physical abuse and/or extreme cruelty committed by the following groups of people:
- A spouse or former spouse who is a citizen of the United States
- A parent that is a U.S. citizen
- A child (son or daughter) of a U.S. citizen
- A spouse or former spouse who is a lawful permanent citizen (LPR)
- A parent that is a lawful permanent citizen
Unlike other family-related green cards, this one can be self-petitioned for using Form I-360. This can be done without the consent or knowledge of the abusive parent or spouse. If you are a victim of parental or spousal abuse, your safety is important. When able, contact a reputable immigration family lawyer in Scottsdale, AZ to help you discreetly begin the process of becoming a permanent citizen.
Maintaining Dreamer Status
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, better known as DACA, has been a highly debated topic within the current political climate. Unfortunately, it has become increasingly difficult to maintain the Dreamer status. If you came to the United States before the age of 16, and meet numerous other qualifications, you may be eligible to request DACA. Furthermore, you can request a renewal visa Form I-821D. The laws are continually changing regarding the status of Dreamers. In order to stay abreast of relevant changes and increase the likelihood of your DACA status being approved, it is best to connect with an experienced immigration lawyer in Scottsdale, AZ.
If you are not married to a citizen of the United States, you can apply for citizenship after holding a green card for five years. If you are indeed married to a U.S. citizen, you are eligible to apply for citizenship by naturalization. This can be accomplished three years after having received your green card. There are other necessary qualifications that must be met, like the ability to speak, write, and read the English language. Additionally, you must be prepared to pass a U.S. civics test. You can apply for naturalization by using Form N-400. Lastly, you will be interviewed at a USCIS office.
When to Contact a Family Lawyer in Scottsdale, AZ
Whether you are the spouse of a U.S. citizen or an immigrant seeking to renew your DACA status, enlisting the services of a family lawyer in Scottsdale, AZ can help you navigate the complex and sometimes confusing process of gaining a green card and eventually becoming a U.S. citizen. At The Law Offices of Lemuel A. Carlos PLLC, our staff of family immigration attorneys has helped many families through the immigration process. We are not limited to English alone, as our diverse staff speaks French, Spanish, Italian, and Tagalog. Immigration processes are stressful by nature, but with the right attorney in your corner, you can focus on other areas of your life while the legal system takes its course. Give us a call today to schedule your initial consultation.